Less than sixty seconds into the second quarter, the Patriots would see their 7-0 opening frame lead completely wiped away.
On a critical third down play, cornerback Devin McCourty took yet another costly pass interference penalty to set the Broncos up on the Patriots' one-yard line. There would be no argument from the Patriots' sideline as it was probably the most obvious instance of pass interference that I've seen in quite some time. Not once during the play did New Engand's third-year corner ever look back, locate the ball attempt to make a play. He simply got up in the face of the receiver and took him down when the ball arrived. At this point, I'm not sure why McCourty is still being put on the field. Your guess is as good as mine, folks.
On the next play from scrimmage, Peyton Manning would execute a beautiful play-action fake to set up tight end Joel Dreessen all alone in the back of the endzone for a touchdown to tie the game at 7.
Brady and the Pats would follow that up with a tremendously executed drive down the field to regain the lead. Brandon Lloyd would make another important grab to get the ball down inside the one-yard-line of the Broncos. After the Patriots hurried back to the line, reserve tailback Shane Vereen would take it to pay-dirt for a 14-7 New England lead.
The Patriots would drive down the field once again on their next possession before being halted inside the five-yard-line and being forced to kick a field goal. Stephen Gostkowski's extra-point-like field goal was right down the middle, securing the Patriots a 17-7 lead as we entered halftime.